Saturday 31 December 2016

2016: My First Full Year as a Naturalist

2016 was a big year for me. Sure, I didn't see as many species as I would have wanted to, but it was still awesome. My 2016 birding year list sits at 235, 83 of which were new species bring my life list up to 242, and I still have a chance to add a Northern Shrike! I also started this blog, which led to the discovery of leps, odes, herps, and botany. The past 12 months have been life changing.

In order to reflect on the year, and dream about the year ahead, properly, I've decided to post daily for the next week on topics regarding the past year and my goals moving forward. The topics I've chosen are:

January 1st: New Year's Day Birding (I'll do a "Big Day" of sorts)
January 2nd: 2016 Full Year list for Birds
January 3rd: 2016 Full Year lists for Leps, Odes, Herps, and Mammals
January 4th: 2016 Rarity Highlights
January 5th: 2016 Best Nature Moments
January 6th: The Best Photos of 2016
January 7th: My Nature Goals for 2017
January 8th: Re-visiting My "Wish List"

Now, to give you something to look at, here are some monthly highlights!


I started off with a bang by finding a life bird just 10.5 hours into the new year...Brown Creeper! I also went on a Nature London trip to the St. Clair river and got a picture of a Snowy Owl published in the London Free Press.


The best bird of the month was a Greater White-fronted Goose that visited London for a couple weeks. I also managed to get some decent photos of kinglets, nuthatches, and a Redhead this month as well.


Obviously the Gyrfalcon that hung around for over a month in Lambton was a highlight, but a Eurasian Wigeon just a week later was also very cool. The best bird of the month for me was a Harlequin Duck that made London his home for nearly two months.


A Great Horned Owl nest entertained me for the bulk of the month. Also a highlight was finding an almost record early Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in London (record early was Feb. 28, I found it on April 4). My trip to Point Pelee in late April didn't yield a Louisiana Waterthrush, but I did find some nice lifer Pine Warblers.


May was unsurprisingly one of the busiest months of the year. I saw 146 species this month, up from the 88 I saw  this month in 2015. Highlights include getting my 600mm lens for my camera, doing a Big Day in the Pelee Birding Circle on May 7th (Once again I didn't complete the 100 species challenge!), and a trip to the Bruce with Nature London, on which I saw 18 lifers.


June was the month I started this blog. It was also the month I heard my first Acadian Flycatcher and saw my first Hooded Warbler. Dickcissels were also added to my life list when at least three males set up territory south of Strathroy.


Was a big month, especially towards the end. My trip to Carden Alvar was timed so that the area's bird activity wasn't at it's peak, but I still saw numerous specialities including Loggerhead Shrikes and Sedge Wrens, I also managed to visit Darlington Provincial Park to check out the Piping Plovers. Some nice odes were seen as well. About a week after I added a Eurasian-collared Dove to my life list.


I saw many new birds this month including Black-crowned Night-heron, Sanderling, Marbled Godwit, and Baird's Sandpiper. I added a number of insects to my life list, a highlight being Common Checkered Skipper.


A Highlight this month was going to Algonquin Park. I managed to see three out of the four Algonquin specialities and a total of six Moose. Hand-feeding Chickadees was also pretty cool.


I missed a few good birds this month, but I also saw a few. The trip I took to Point Pelee in early October was nice, and a few good raptors were noted. Large numbers of Blue Jays continued to move through as well. Later in the month, I finally added the three Scoters to my life list and also caught up with a Cattle Egret.


Sort of a slow month, but I did get down to Rondeau where I saw a Harlequin Duck, Greater White-fronted Geese, and a Sandpiper. I also "re-found" the Cattle Egret after it being gone for a week at Blenheim.


This past month has been quite eventful, and I've seen 88 bird species so far, and there is still 14 hours left! I started December off by finding a Red-headed Woodpecker on the London CBC4Kids, which went on to be found on the London CBC. I also participated in the Rondeau CBC, where Blake Mann and I recorded 57 species in our circle, a Red-throated Loon and American Pipits being highlights. My "Big Day" just a few days ago was also a success, and I saw species such as King Eider, Black Vulture, and Little Gull.

I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store!


  1. It looks like it was a great year for you, Quinten! I will certainly be following your blog in the new year, and I hope you have a successful 2017. Cheers!

  2. You have had a good starting year! No doubt great things will happen in 2017. Happy New Year.

  3. Congrats on a fine blog and an excellent year of birding. I look forward to your adventures and accomplishments in 2017!

    Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks Allen! 2017 should be a good year...I'm going to start off by going for the Smith's Longspur. This will be the year I see a Prothonotary Warbler!